Myron’s: Steak perfected

 

I love steak. I like it medium and seasoned perfectly with salt and pepper. I like it with a side of roasted vegetables and rice or potatoes. Sauces are optional because you don’t need a sauce with a good steak.

I remember eating my first wagyu (or some kind of high grade Japanese beef) at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati years back and it was so good. Every bite was like heaven in my mouth.

Then one of the first steak houses I ever dined in was Myron’s Steak, Ribs and Seafood at Power Plant mall in Rockwell. This was 10 years ago (I think) and the steak house was pretty new then but they served good steak.

Since then, I have consumed many more steaks—bad, okay, good, great—but those two first experiences for me are the most memorable and delicious.

SB Cappuccino of mushroom soup
Cappucino of Mushroom

A little over a week ago, I was able to go back to Myron’s after many years. The restaurant has a new home, at the 6th floor of The Ascott Residences in Makati, moving from Greenbelt 5. The restaurant now serves as the property’s breakfast restaurant and they basically operate Ascott’s food and beverage (F&B) needs.

This is a big challenge for owners Ramon and Monica Eugenio considering that they started in food business at a small stall at Salcedo’s weekend market. Both experienced chefs, the couple started selling their Angus roast beef at Salcedo market in 2005. A year later, they had an opportunity to open their first restaurant at Power Plant mall. The couple partnered with friend and kitchen colleague Melanio Resuma to kick start the steak house.

SB Fusilli with grilled chicken and blue cheese
Fusilli with grilled chicken and blue cheese

After 11 years of operations, the restaurant has grown significantly and turned into a company running several restaurants including The Flying Pan, Franco’s, and Miguelito’s.

“As you can see it’s a bigger opportunity for us. I think it’s the biggest challenge for Monique and I. We started at the Saturday market and then after 10 years we were able to move from a stall in Salcedo to running the F&B department of one of the major players in Makati,” Ramon said.

One of the factors why Myron’s have lasted this long is because of a loyal following. Another is simply because they make good food.

For starters, the restaurant offers a variety of appetizers but the must tries are the caesar salad that’s freshly made beside your table and the delicious cappuccino of mushroom. It’s a mushroom soup that is creamy and foamy, giving that distinct cappuccino texture. The fresh mushroom flavors are there, not the kind you get in a can. It’s also adorably served in a coffee cup with a thin bread stick on the side.

SB Tiger prawn and US sea scallops with roasted pumpkin and scallion sauce
Tiger prawn and US sea scallops with roasted pumpkin and scallion sauce

If you’re a pasta lover, try the fusilli with grilled chicken and blue cheese. Yes, I know, blue cheese is notoriously pungent but this dish has no moldy aroma, whatsoever. It’s a surprisingly light pasta for a creamy dish and the grilled chicken complements it very well.

For people trying to stay away from carbs and want to eat “healthy,” try the tiger prawn and US sea scallops with roasted pumpkin and scallion sauce. I love seafood so this dish pleased me a lot, gastronomically speaking. The huge grilled tiger prawn has perfect charred sides and the scallops beautifully seared—both protein are very tender and well seasoned. The roasted pumpkin adds a smoky sweetness to the dish. All of the components are tied together by a creamy and delicate scallion sauce.

For the main event, Myron’s signature steak was served, called The President. It’s a US ribeye cooked medium and was served already sliced. It has a pink Himalayan salt topping and served with a side of steamed French beans. The sear was perfect and the seasoning was on point. I get why this steak is popular dish. This is best eaten with Myron’s rice, which is like fried rice but using steak drippings.

SB The President ribeye steak
‘The President’ ribeye steak

Although this was not the steak that I ate back then, it still brought back memories. Also, The President doesn’t need any sauce because it’s perfect as it is.

We ended the meal with an intricately plated chocolate cake. Ramon said that their pastry chef was formerly from Mandarin Oriental so the execution was very hotel-y. It was nice but I would have preferred the bread pudding.

The steak house is the living legacy of the man behind the name. Monica’s dad, Myron Papa is a big part of the concept when they envisioned the restaurant over a decade ago. The couple described the late stockbroker as someone who loved to entertain and feed people.

“He loved to entertain people with only the best food and wine,” recalled Monica. “When it came to get-togethers at home, he was very conscious about the quality of food being served, and very generous with the servings. You go home happy and well fed after a date with Myron.”

SB The Marianito
Marianito cocktail

This father’s day, Myron’s will celebrate with an addition to its bar menu. A new signature cocktail will be launched on June 18. Called the Marianito, it’s a classic Spanish cocktail made of vermouth, gin, campari, and angostura bitters.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Myron’s, 6th floor The Ascott Residences, Makati City / +632 755 8898 / reservations@myronsph.com / Facebook and Instagram @myrons_ph

8 Romantic restaurants for that perfect date

New restaurants opening in the metro tend to keep their interiors simple and practically the same—concrete floors, mural walls, wood tables, steel chairs, and bulb light fixtures. The industrial and minimalist look is pleasing enough but quite frankly unromantic. Only a handful of restaurants go the extra mile to make its space unique and beautiful. But it’s not only the interiors that matter, it’s the location, too.

I list down eight of the most beautiful and romantic restaurants in Metro Manila for your date this Valentine’s Day. And these restaurants have good food to boot.

rustic-mornings
Photo credit: Facebook/RusticMornings

1. Rustic Mornings by Isabelo, Marikina

Weathered furniture and country-style knick-knack make this one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in the metro. The shabby chic interiors and al fresco dining area are so charming they are perfect for a romantic brunch or lunch. The restaurant serves delicious breakfast food

No. 11 I. Mendoza St. San Roque, Marikina City / +632 425 8610 / Facebook/RusticMornings

2. Harbor View, Manila

This restaurant may not have the most beautiful interior on the list but it has the most beautiful view. Located at the breakwater of Manila Bay, giving its diners front seats to the world-famous sunset. It serves fresh seafood and Filipino cuisine.

South Dr. Ermita, Manila (beside Manila Ocean Park) / +632 710 0060

cafe-juanita
Photo credit: Facebook/cafe.juanita.ph

3. Cafe Juanita, Pasig

I’m not a real Pasigueño if this iconic restaurant did not make the list. Its eclectic decors and interiors are what make this restaurant stand out from the rest. The atmosphere it creates is undeniably romantic. Its delicious Filipino and Asian food is the main reason why it lasted for so many years.

No. 19 West Capito Dr., Kapitolyo, Pasig City / +632 632 0357 / Facebook/cafe.juanita.ph

casa-roces
Photo credit: Facebook/casarocesphils

4. Casa Roces, Manila

This old house-turned restaurant has a lot of history. Located in San Miguel or Malacañan compound, the restaurant’s old interior and history are what make dining here much more interesting. Enjoy the Spanish-Filipino fare that do not disappoint.

1153 JP Laurel cor Aguado St. San Miguel, Manila / +632 708 4020 / Facebook/casarocesphils

ninyo-fusion-cuisine-and-wine-lounge
Photo credit: Facebook/NinyoFusionCuisine&WineLounge

5. Ninyo Fusion Cuisine & Wine Lounge, Quezon City

Dine in your own cabana with flowy white fabric curtains and by candle light. Enjoy its modern international cuisine and selection of wine. What can be more romantic than that?

66 Esteban Abada St. Loyola Heights, Quezon City / +632 426 0301 ? / Facebook

flame

6. Flame, Makati

Dine 16 floors up with the Makati skyline as your backdrop. The beautiful interiors, delicious fusion European-Asian cuisine, and the breathtaking views are the perfect ingredients for a romantic date.

16th floor, Discovery Primea, 6749 Ayala Ave., Makati City / +632 955 8888 / Website

blackbird
Photo credit: Facebook/BlackbirdAtTheNielsonTower

7. Blackbird, Makati

This fine-dining restaurant has been making waves since it opened. It is housed at the beautiful art deco Nielson Tower building that used to be an airport terminal and control tower. Its history is already romantic, augmented by the beautiful greenery around the building creating an illusion of a rural setting. Its European and Asian menu is also top notch.

Ayala Triangle Walkways, Makati / +632 828 4888 / Facebook

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Photo credit: manila-hotel.com.ph

8. Champagne Room, Manila

Speaking about iconic, this restaurant is probably the most iconic romantic spot in the metro. Its French-inspired interior—those beautiful crystal palm trees—is what made this restaurant a symbol of romantic Manila.

The Manila Hotel, One Rizal Park, Manila / +632 527 0011 / Website

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Is this the best Chinese restaurant in Manila?

Well, the All China Federation thinks so. Recently Marco Polo Manila’s Lung Hin Cantonese restaurant received the prestigious Golden Horse Award at the 16th China Hotel Industry Golden Horse Awards Gala. The award is given to the best Chinese restaurants outside China. That says a lot.

tofu and seaweed salad
Deep-fried tofu and seaweed salad

Knowing Filipinos, we know good Chinese food. This oriental cuisine is in fact, comfort food to Filipinos. I grew up dining at Chinese restaurants, from Cubao to Binondo, which is the oldest Chinatown in the world. It is the go-to place for authentic and good Chinese fare. Two of my favorite eateries are Toho Food Center and Wai Ying Fastfood, both hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Basically, back then, you only have two choices when dining out—Filipino or Chinese. There were few choices then unlike now; it’s hard to pick where to eat because of the bajillion restaurants out there. And not just restaurants, award-winning restaurants.

fried beancurd skin and leek rolls
Fried beancurd skin and leek rolls

If you love Chinese food, specifically Cantonese cuisine, you should try Lung Hin.

Aside from traditional dishes, the resto serves up modern and exquisitely done Cantonese cuisine. Located on the 44th floor of Marco Polo Ortigas, it is Chinese dining at its finest. Recently, the restaurant introduced its newest executive chef, Leung “Ken” Chi Kwan. Che Ken is from Hong Kong and specializes in Cantonese cuisine.

Some of the must-try dishes of the restaurant are: the light but very flavorful deep fried tofu with seaweed salad. The salad is made up of cubes of fried tofu, thin slices of seaweed, shredded cabbage, taro, carrot, and then dressed with a nutty sesame dressing. The fried beancurd skin and leek rolls, on the other hand, is a crunchy appetizer with minced pork and garlic chives.

fookian misua
Fookian misua

For the mains, the traditional pork spareribs is served with a special black vinegar sauce. The crystal prawns with broccoli is a light dish for health-conscious diners. One of my favorites is the Fookian misua, soft and thin misua noodles with veggies , egg, and meat. It’s not your typical pancit because it doesn’t look like it. It doesn’t have the typical dark soy color, but has this almost white sauce. Despite its dull color, it is very flavorful.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Meralco Ave. and Sapphire Street, Ortigas Center, Pasig City / www.marcopolohotels.com / Facebook.com/MarcoPoloOrtigasManila / Twitter and Instagram @MarcoPoloManila

I ate a poisonous fish and didn’t die

I’ve mentioned it before—one of my dream vacation is eating my way in Japan. This country is one of my dream destinations. If this happens someday, I will share everything with you.

sekitori interiors01
Sekitori interiors

Anyway, since Japan is fairly near the Philippines and many Japanese call my country their home, it’s easy for us to get a Japanese experience, especially when it comes to food. There are several Japanese restaurants already here in Metro Manila that offer different kinds of Japanese food experiences—from fast food to buffet extravaganza to authentic eats.

One such restaurant that promises “authentic” Japanese cuisine is Sekitori in Ortigas. Owned by former sumo wrestler Seto Masakazu who made sure that the restaurant serves the most authentic Japanese food in Manila.

sekitori chanko nabe is a traditional sumo wrestler meal, it's a big hotpot of vegetables and meat
Sekitori Chanko Nabe is a traditional sumo wrestler meal, it’s a big hotpot of vegetables and meat.

From the get go, Seto-san made the restaurant look like a homage to sumo wrestlers. Photos of champion wrestlers, including his uncle, adorn the resto interiors. And traditional Japanese dining setup is available at the restaurant’s second floor. More than the interiors, Sekitori serves classic Japanese food that we Filipinos have come to love, traditional sumo wrestler fare, and even the infamous fugu.

yasai no kyu-fu taki awase or traditional Kyoto boiled vegetables
Yasai no Kyu-fu Taki Awase or traditional Kyoto boiled vegetables

For those who doesn’t know what fugu is, it’s a kind of fish—a pufferfish to be exact. This sea creature is actually poisonous but the Japanese has been eating this—sashimi style—for many years now. It has become one of its famous delicacy and only trained and certified chefs are allowed to prepare it. I was able to eat two thin slices of fugu at Sekitori and I am still alive, writing this blog post. The fugu sashimi slices were so thin it doesn’t have a distinct taste. But what got me was the thrill of dying. Okay, I knew that it wouldn’t happen because Sekitori’s executive chef Kamimoto Keita is certified.

shinshu premium beef steak
Shinshu premium beef steak

But Sekitori has more to offer than just fugu sashimi. The Sekitori Chanko Nabe is a traditional hot pot dish for sumo wrestlers. The dish is a mix of various vegetables and protein in a steaming pot of special broth. The serving is huge, good for six to eight people. Another must-try is the Yasai no Kyo-fu Taki Awase, a traditional Kyoto vegetable dish. Assistant chef Yoshi Mitsume is a native of Kyoto and specializes in the region’s cuisine. The simple-looking vegetable dish was actually intricately prepared. Each vegetable—carrot, shitake mushroom, daikon (radish), squash, and snow peas—are separately cooked then put together in one dish, the result: a delicate dish that is light and yet flavorful.

assorted Japanese sweets including two tyes of traditional sweets made from sakura blossom
Assorted Japanese desserts including two types of traditional sweets made from sakura blossom

Another dish that stood out for me was the dessert. The dessert platter included two seasonal Japanese sweets made from sakura blossom or cherry blossom. Yes, those beautiful pink flowers can be eaten, too.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Sekitori is located at the ground floor of Hantson Square, San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City / +632 881 7985

Best shawarma in Manila?

Okay, I haven’t really been going around Metro Manila and taking a bite of every shawarma I see but the last shawarma I had was pretty damn good. I don’t claim it’s the best but in terms of quality, this small restaurant in BGC makes a good wrap statement.

Shawarma is very popular here, thus, very common. It’s widely available in food markets, malls, and even train stations. What makes it so popular is its convenience—quick and easy to-go meal.

This Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines staple is basically meat (beef, chicken, or lamb), marinated in special spices, cooked in a vertical rotisserie, and then wrapped in pita bread. Fresh vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and cucumber are added to the meat pile and drizzled with special sauces (usually yogurt-based sauces).

ebeneezers counter
Ebeneezers counter and salad bar

Ebeneezers is one of the new eateries in the BGC business hub. The restaurant elevates the humble shawarma roll into a gourmet meal. It uses prime Angus beef, organic chicken, and halal Moroccan lamb in its tasty wraps. Most of the vegetable it uses are also organic and sourced from small, sustainable farms.

Its head chef is Tom Hines, one of the men behind Ebeneezer’s Hong Kong. This is not a franchise of the popular HK eatery, however.

Aside from the special meats, it also serves vegetarian dishes like fresh vegetable salad from the salad bar and falafal (mashed chick peas with special spices, formed into patties then fried). Customers can also have the option of having the premium meats and falafal over rice pilaf.

ebeneezers organic chicken
Organic chicken on fluffy rice pilaf

Personally, I like the lamb shawarma. Marinated in Moroccan spices, the lamb is perfectly tender and full of flavor. The organic chicken is a must try, too. The restaurant also has special house-made sauces with varying level of spiciness from no heat to super spicy.

What’s unique about Ebeneezers is it is divided into two sections. The restaurant downstairs and the “naughty room” upstairs. A small bar where people can unwind and just chill. This part offer signature cocktails and good bar chow. Must tries are the aged (45 days) beef burger, lamb burger, and the crazy sinful fried organic chicken skins.

Read my Manila Bulletin article here.

Ebeneezers is located at the ground floor of Net Quad Bldg, on 4th St. corner 30th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. +63 917 5694429 / Facebook.com/ebeneezersmnl / IG: @ebeneezersmnl

Where’s Marcel? coffee shop opens in Manila

If you think there’s no space for another coffee shop in Metro Manila (or any city in the world, for that matter), well, think again. Yup, there’s a new brewer in town. Australian coffee company Where’s Marcel? will soon open its first shop in the country.

This shop, however, is unlike the big chain coffee shops we are used to. Where’s Marcel? is mainly a wholesale company that supplies artisan coffee beans to other coffee shops and retailers. But most importantly, this brand has more heart than most—conscience for good coffee and fair trade.

marcel01
Coffee from Where’s Marcel? promises the best quality.

Craft coffee is in its early stages here in the country. In Melbourne, however, it’s already a lifestyle. The Melbourne coffee scene has been getting a lot of attention because of the many artisan brewers popping up in the Australian city. No, this is not another hipster trend because specialty coffee is not just about fancy brewing methods but also about sustainability and fair trade.

Melbourne-based Where’s Marcel? is all about fair trade. It operates based on direct trade, which means it gets its beans straight from the farmer, cutting off the middleman. This also means that the farmer gets the best price for his/her crops. It likewise educates farmers about good industry practices.

But its business is not just about fair trade because it also wants consumers to taste the true flavors of coffee. Darker roast beans, like our very own barako, tend to be bitter and harsh. Tween favorite frappuccinos are saturated with sugar and cream, which buries any semblance of coffee flavor. Instant coffee is well, instant.

Marcel Ruggieri
Marcel Ruggieri

During the recent launch of the brand, we were able to taste a clean and crisp coffee, no bitter aftertaste, just the true flavor of the coffee. Di Bella Coffee barista Melissa Hamilton used a different method of brewing: siphoning. Di Bella Coffee roasts the beans for Where’s Marcel? specialty coffee shop. Melissa points out that no matter what brewing method you use, the taste still depends on the coffee beans.

“It doesn’t matter what brewing process because if the rest of it isn’t done well (coffee production), it’s not going to be good,” she says.

In Where’s Marcel?, don’t expect commercial brews, although it offers cappuccino and latte, you should try its batch brew, hot or with ice. No frappucino here. Its food menu consists of international and local flavors. Australian staple muesli is an amazing breakfast and brunch dish. It is a mixture of raw oats and other grains, as well as different kinds of nuts. It is usually soaked in apple juice overnight then eaten with a generous helping of yogurt and fresh fruits. I love this so much.

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Fresh and healthy, muesli

Also try the chorizo carbonara and pork-chicken and kesong puti adobo sandwich. The desserts are a must-try, too, like the coffee muffins and the variety of cookie shards—thin chewy cookies.

Ultimately, Where’s Marcel? wants to educate not only consumers but its clients as well, spreading awareness about coffee brewing methods and good industry practices.

“In terms of our wholesale operations, we are focused on educating and building our clients’ businesses. When we supply coffee, we’re not just supplying bags of beans but we also work with their team, we work with their staff to prove their knowledge with coffee but also delivering that experience to their clientele,” Where’s Marcel? director Marcel Ruggieri ends.

Read my Manila Bulletin article here.

Where’s Marcel is set to open on March 30 at the ground floor f Pearl Place, Pearl Drive Ave. Ortigas, Pasig City (beside University of Asia and the Pacific). Facebook/wheresmarcelph; Instagram/@wheresmarcelph

New York steak of mind

When it was announced last year that Woflgang Zwiener will open his restaurant here, a lot of foodies and steak lovers (like me) got really excited. Imagine, one of the best rated steakhouses in the US will bring its famous beef here.

So last week, when I got a text from my editor that Woflgang’s Steakhouse is hosting an exclusive preview dinner for the media, I didn’t even think twice and accepted the assignment. The invitation was short notice because the organizers informed everybody on the day of the event, which was the night before the big launch. I had another event that day, also a restaurant, so I tried my best to restrain myself from eating too much.

ws jumbo shrimp cocktail
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

Arriving at the Newport Mall at Resorts Word Manila, I was not able to immediately locate the restaurant. It is situated on the second floor of the mall, at The Plaza. After a few minutes, I was able to spot the steakhouse that was still covered and boarded up, which explains why it was difficult to find. The hostesses of the restaurant were the only ones outside, welcoming guests. “Where should I enter?” I asked one of them. She led me to a door on the wooden wall (covered in tarpaulin) that hides the steakhouse’s facade.

There were still construction men working on the restaurant but it was already 90 percent done. I was greeted by Marvin Agustin of SumoSam Group, the one responsible for bringing the steakhouse here. Peter Zwiener, son of Woflgang was also there to greet the guests. The setup was pretty simple, tables formed a u-shape and were fully dressed for a dinner party—white tablecloths, silver cutlery, wine glasses, and fine china.

And then Mr. Woflgang arrived. Dressed in a blue suit, white shirt, a red tie, and a wide smile, he welcomed each guest to his restaurant.

After all the guests arrived, we started dinner. I was pretty excited but who wouldn’t be anyway? We would get to try dry-aged (for an average of 28 days) USDA Prime beef steak, cooked the Woflgang’s way.

ws ribe eye
Rib Eye Steak

For starters, we had the Wofgang’s Salad, Beverly Hills Chopped Salad, Canadian Bacon slabs (I mean, b-a-c-o-n s-l-a-b-s), and the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp was indeed, jumbo and was served on ice and with the special cocktail sauce. I love shrimp so, I’m pretty partial about this. So good. All of these appetizers paired with a cool glass of French white wine.

After having all the shrimp and bacon I want, in comes the stars of the show. Served on huge platters, he big cuts of steak—rib eye, porterhouse, and prime rib—were cooked medium rare. Perfect crusting on the outside and perfect pink center. The steaks were perfectly seasoned and in every bite, you could taste the difference of the aged beef. For Wolfgang and Peter, they like their steaks rare and even black and blue. Personally, I prefer my steak medium rare to medium.

“As you understand the quality of the beef you are eating, you’ll understand why you want it a little a bit less cooked so you could get the true flavor and appreciate what the beef tastes like,” Peter says.

The steaks were perfectly paired with a glass of red and three sides were also served alongside the beautifully cooked meat, Creamed Spinach, German Potatoes, and Sauteed Mushrooms.

We finished the dinner with slices of pecan pie and New York’s Junior’s Cheesecake, the most famous cheesecake in New York. I’m telling you, this cheesecake is popular for a reason.

ws junior's cheesecake
Junior’s Cheesecake

The steakhouse is not all hype like most international brands coming into the country. It promises quality good food. After all, each branch ages its own meat, all USDA Prime beef, by the way. It has full control of its process from the aging to the preparation. This is expected from a restaurant that knows its steak. Mr. Wolfgang, who worked for the legendary Peter Luger’s in New York for more than 40 years prior to putting up his own steakhouse, definitely knows what he is doing.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is located at the second floor of Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila. For inquiries +63920 8219247 / +63995 610-361; wolfgangssteakhouseph@gmail.com; www.facebook.com/WolfgangsSteakhousePH/